Cockatiels produce a variety of noises including screams, whistles, chatter, hisses and contact calls. The different sounds are ways cockatiels communicate their needs or their reactions to the environment.
Screams are high-pitched, loud vocalizations produced to show fear or excitement. A cockatiel, happy to see its owner arrive home from work, might produce such a sound. Additionally, if the bird encounters something that incites fear, this noise communicates that fear.
Cockatiels are known for their whistling abilities. Male birds in particular can learn whistling sounds they hear from television, radio or whistles made by humans, like a catcall whistle. Cockatiels whistle to relieve boredom, to show happiness in their surroundings or to connect with a human by producing human sounds.
Some cockatiels chatter or talk by mimicking human words or sounds as a means of connecting to their human family. As with whistling, talking is more common to male birds than to female birds.
Hissing indicates fear. Cockatiels hiss when they feel threatened, so a hissing sound indicates a scared bird who might be inclined to bite.
Cockatiels develop contact calls for each other or even for their human family. Cockatiels produce contact calls to indicate their safety to other birds or to their human family. They also use contact calls to express a desire for a bird or human to return to them.